Rasa Liutikienė, Geriuldas Žiliukas
Labor, as a life event, is characterized by tremendous physiological and psychological changes that require major behavioral adjustments in a short period of time. These changes may negatively impact the state of the pregnant woman and the fetus and may even complicate pregnancy and childbirth. Clinically significant fear of childbirth is estimated to affect 20-25% of pregnant women and the prevalence of pathological fear is thought to be 6-10%. Objective. To examine the influence of fear of childbirth on the process of delivery and the choice of analgesia. Methods. The study composed of two stages was carried. During the first stage of this study 245 lowrisk pregnant women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy completed A version of The Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (W-DEQ) and the fear of childbirth was evaluated. During the second stage of the study medical records (including information about the exact time of labor, the beginning of labor, duration of labor, labor progress, mode of delivery, the medicinal pain relief used during delivery) of 189 respondents were examined. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS 17.0. Results. Study showed that the majority of respondents (47,8 %) experienced moderate fear, 34,7% respondents suffered from severe fear, 16,3% respondents experienced mild fear, while 1,2% respondents suffered from pathological fear. Severe fear was more common in unemployed, single women and women with lower education. The fear of childbirth intensifies closer to the birth. Statistically significant links between the fear of childbirth and the beginning of spontaneous labor, premature rupture of membranes, induced labor and the use medicinal pain relief have been found. The study could not show an important connection between the mode of delivery and the fear of childbirth. However, respondents who had vacuum delivery were experiencing higher level of fear of childbirth than those respondents who had spontaneous delivery or caesarean section. Conclusions. Pregnant women experience moderate or severe fear of childbirth closer to the birth. Greater fear of childbirth increased the risk of protracted and inducted labor and using medicinal pain relief during the labor. The fear of childbirth is not connected with the mode of delivery.
Keyword(s): childbirth; fear of childbirth; complications of delivery; pain of delivery; pain relief.
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